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Last updated Friday, March 2, 2018

Author: Misty Copeland
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0399166157
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2018

Synopsis: A poetic dialogue between an aspiring young dancer and the American Ballet Theater's soloist comprises the text of this stunning picture book. Copeland provides words of encouragement to boost the dreams of an African American girl whose desire to be a ballerina is hampered by her low self-image and lack of confidence. "I was a dancer just like you," Misty tells her, "a dreaming shooting star of a girl/with work and worlds ahead." Misty encourages this young girl's faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.

Note to readers:
•  This book is abstract, so it would be good to also focus on the pictures.
•  There are a lot of dance & ballet terms (see vocabulary words below).

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever taken a dance class?
•  What do you want to be when you grow up?
•  What's your favorite music to dance to?


•  swift - Moving or capable of moving with great speed; fast.
•  horizon - The apparent intersection of the earth and sky as seen by an observer.
•  spotlight - A strong beam of light that illuminates only a small area, used especially to center attention on a stage performer.
•  barre - A handrail fixed to a wall, as in a dance studio, used by ballet dancers as a support in certain exercises.
•  arabesque - A ballet position executed while standing on one straight leg with one arm extended forward and the other arm and leg extended backward.
•  pas de deux - A dance for two, especially a dance in ballet consisting of an entrιe and adagio, a variation for each dancer, and a coda.
•  pointe shoes - Shoes with reinforced toes, originally padded with cotton but since 1860s stiffened with glue and darned to give support when dancing on toe tips.
•  pirouetting - A full turn of the body on the point of the toe or the ball of the foot in ballet.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who is telling the story?
•  Why is the little girl afraid?
•  Have you ever been on stage for a performance?

Craft ideas:
•  Make ribbon wands for dancing
•  Draw a ballerina and decorate them with tissue paper
•  Make paper plate tambourines or paper bag maracas.
•  Make craft stick harmonicas.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Have a dance party & show off your favorite dance move.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!